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My nephew is a little myna bird.  He is almost two-years-old and will repeat anything you say.  And anything you do.  His sister is five and he mimics everything she does on a 60 second delay.   When she wants to hear the “Change” song, they stand on either side of me and chant, “Change Change Change,” until I pull up the YouTube video.  She wants it.  He wants it.  When she decides it’s time to have a nap with her blankie, he has to crawl up on “PapPap’s” lap and have a nap too.  He’s not tired.  But she does it.  He does it.  When she talks to everyone in the house about the “Family Room,” he tells everyone about the “Family Room”.  Over and over.  She says it.  He says it.  His little eyes are always watching.  His little ears are always listening.  But he’s not just watching her.  He’s watching everyone.  He’s been to church a few times in his short life, and he’s apparently observed what’s done there.  When Dad and I were at the church on a Friday practicing a song, my nephew was there with us.  At one point, he went to the altar, kneeled down,...

Tweet, tweet!  Tweet, tweet!  The little birds woke me up this morning.  It was a welcome sound.  I almost didn’t think spring would prevail over winter.  Alas, I also saw some green grass.  Actual green!  Looks like spring has sprunk after all. After we had enjoyed an amazing 60+ degree weekend, we were hit with another snowfall last week.  I was just about to give up on spring and then I drove south on Washington Street and passed the Unorganized Book Store.  I’ve only been in that store a few times, you should go.  Rumor has it that the business was started by a Taylor grad.  He and I have something in common:  I like to buy books and he likes to sell them.  Besides that, I just love to read their marquee signposts!  They are always quirky, generally funny, and maybe most importantly, include all of the letters they are supposed to include.  No ‘E’s represented by backwards 3’s or anything weird like that!  Last week I drove by the bookstore and, lo’ and behold, the signpost read “Spring Has Sprunk”.  I laughed.  There was snow on the ground and I laughed.  Then I smiled.  Then I was inspired.  (Just like...

Community Foundation awards grant to school, MPO Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 12:00 am  |  By Jillian Fellows  |  www.chronicle-tribune.com [caption id="attachment_2156" align="alignleft" width="300"] 1 April 2014 -- Instructor Kory Browder, third from left, talks with students during Ballet 3 class at Community School of the Arts on Tuesday. Photo/Jeff Morehead[/caption] A new grant from the Community Foundation has opened doors for the Community School of the Arts to  collaborate with other musical groups. “The grant is from the Community Foundation, which is awesome, and it’s a partnership with the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra,” said Nancy Wood, CSA marketing director. “It is to help combine CSA and the Orchestra for ‘The Nutcracker’ and to begin a new Suzuki program here at the school of the arts. We get to bring in the violins, we have a violin instructor. It’s so exciting; it’s something new and different that you can’t find just anywhere.” CSA officials said last year’s performance of “The Nutcracker” was the first CSA collaboration with MPO in many years. “Anything we can do to support other cultural music and arts in the community, whether it’s with the MPO, Civic, universities, anytime we can collaborate with them it’s a win-win for everybody,” Wood said. “This one step...

Something I want to buy soon…pup cups from Starbucks!  A delicious whipped cream treat for the furry friends in your life.  Something I’m thankful for…daylight!!!  Whose fault is daylight savings time, again, anyway?    Something brilliant!  Seriously, why didn’t I think of that?  Ah, the simple things in life.   Something I may never understand…and right here in Grant County, too.  What does that even mean? Arghhh, why make simple things complicated?    Something most people don’t know, but they should…the rule of 7.  This basic rule of thumb indicates that each dollar spent locally will be spent 7 additional times in our community.  This is part of a multiplier effect  that money can have in small cities and towns.  So, what does this mean to you and me? Well, it means that charitable giving is good, but giving to local charities helps the community up to 7X more than if you supported a state or national charity…one that may never even benefit a friend or neighbor near you.  That’s exactly why we have been set up as a local Grant County Foundation, thus the COMMUNITY Foundation.  We work with donors to support local causes.  Each year we distribution nearly $2.2 Million back into our county and each of...

Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 12:00 am  |  By Jillian Fellows  |  www.chronicle-tribune.com Two Grant County students have garnered full tuition to any university in Indiana as top winners in the Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Program. Michael Riddle from Eastbrook High School and Steven Ngo from Marion High School were the scholarship recipients, chosen from among five top students in the county, one from each high school. “It’s an incredible achievement and I’m happy that I got it,” Riddle said. “Since only two people get it, that means that three other people don’t get it but it’s a great achievement for all of us to be nominated.” Riddle and Ngo were surprised during their classes on Monday morning as Community Foundation members, school officials and family members gathered to make the announcement. “We really like to surprise them but also do it in front of their peers because these are the people that they’ve grown up with,” said Dawn Brown, executive director of the Community Foundation. “Some of these kids have gone to school with him for 12 or 13 years and these are the people who know him best so it’s really nice to present it in front of his peers to show them that...

It’s one of those oddly incredible, unexpected occurrences that you can’t predict or would ever imagine.  The kind of thing that I’m sure has happened before, and is guaranteed to happen again.  Probably not to me, though.  Or to my friend.  Or to my brother.  We certainly didn’t see it coming, and when it was over, we were all a little in shock.  Later that evening, at dinner, my brother proposed that we all just take another minute and remember what happened there in the driveway before we left. Of course, I’m talking about that awkward moment when…you’re sitting in the parked car in the driveway, and when the door opens a sparrow flies in and tries frantically to get out through the front windshield while you scream at it pointlessly because your door is locked and your brother is laughing himself sick in the backseat.  Yeah.  That happened.  Frantically I grabbed for the door handle, and once I was finally able to get the passenger door open, I jumped out and the sparrow followed after me. Flying off, never to be seen again.  But never to be forgotten. They say life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,...

  “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?”  I think almost every kid in my class learned this joke and its punchline:  “Pilgrims.”  However, that was 40 years ago.  All that changed 30 years ago.  Instead, it went something like this:  “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?  The Indianapolis Colts!”  Although I don’t expect anyone from Maryland to think that’s funny, the trek of Mayflower moving trucks, in the dark of night, from Baltimore to Indy on March 29, 1984 made it so. It’s Spring Break week here in Grant County.  And, that means we’re…staying home.  Why, you ask?  Well, until Indiana Wesleyan University and Taylor University synchronize calendars with any of our school districts, we’ll never have the same spring break schedule.  This means that any family with a student or professor at one of the local colleges has to forego both the college spring break when their kids are still in school and their school district’s spring break when the colleges have classes.  But, I digress.  So, since it’s Spring Break and we’re home enjoying the current 32 degree Indiana temperatures, Griffin volunteered to fish-sit.  Yes, fish-sit.  Now this wouldn’t be a...

Here's how a 2013 Community Foundation scholarship recipient is making a difference in Grant County: [caption id="attachment_913" align="alignleft" width="100"] Clifton Davis, 2013 Marguerite E. Ellis Endowed Scholarship recipient[/caption] In the past year, since receiving the 2013 Marguerite E. Ellis Endowed Scholarship from the Community Foundation of Grant County, Indiana, I have been able to positively impact musicians in the Ball State University community as an informal mentor.   I think of an undergraduate freshman who I noticed was overcome one afternoon in January.  Through conversation, I discovered that passing her sight-singing class felt insurmountable.  Her financial resources would not allow her to pay for extra help.  Through research, I was able to connect her with two different tutors paid through BSU initiatives.  I remember a college senior last fall who needed practical guidance in her new paid musical job. Through a series of conversations that balanced hands-on strategies with a willingness to walk with this senior through the pain of adjusting to a new situation, we overcame the initial bumpiness of this position.  She now regularly checks in with me with positive updates about how she makes a difference through work.  She is sad that upon graduation she will leave behind this post. As a...

It’s hard to believe that it was almost 20 years ago when the game we’ve all played once or twice was created:  Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  The object of the game is to link celebrities to Bacon, via as few steps as possible, based on the movies they have in common.  [caption id="attachment_2064" align="aligncenter" width="300"] For example, Morgan Freeman’s Bacon Number is 2[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_2062" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Sandra Bullock’s Bacon Number is 1[/caption]   In fact, nowadays, they say no actor’s Bacon Number would exceed 4 considering all of the movies that Kevin Bacon has been in to date….from Animal House in 1978 to RIPD last year. Of course, all of this is based off of the Six Degrees of Separation concept.  The idea is that everyone, by way of introduction, is six steps or fewer away from anyone else in the world.  It’s a small world after all.   So, technically, you are six degrees of separation from Prince William or Oprah Winfrey or appearing in the Ellen Degeneres Oscar Selfie. But, it doesn’t all have to be about celebrity.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying that celebrity is only a metaphor for how this really works.  What if we’re all just Six...

Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 11:45 pm | Updated: 9:32 am, Wed Mar 5, 2014. by crystal franks  |  www.chronicle-tribune.com [caption id="attachment_2055" align="alignleft" width="300"] Wesley Stitt of Summitville Elementary requested a grant of $200 for the Hope Center at Monday’s Community Foundation of Grant County “Youth Grant Program.”[/caption] On Monday, one student from every elementary and middle school in the county was able to apply for a grant at the Community Foundation of Grant County’s bi-annual “Youth Grant Program,” which provided $5,750 for distribution. The program allows students to write and request a grant for a maximum of $350 and deliver a presentation about how the money would be used. After all the presentations, the students voted as a governing body and placed ballots of how much each proposal should receive. The students received the average amount of the ballots, Community Foundation of Grant County Program Manager Ashley McKnight said. Some students requested grants for local organizations. Faith Keaffaber, 10, of Riverview Elementary requested a grant for $350 for Marion Animal Care and Control. “Animals have been an obsession for me since I was a little kid,” she said. “The money is going to help buy food for the animals.” Students created presentations for grants to be used...